What is Somatic Experiencing?
What is Somatic Experiencing?
The Somatic Experiencing ® (SE) method is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. It is the life’s work of Dr. Peter A. Levine, drawing from his multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, together with over 45 years of successful clinical application.
What is it used for? Is it therapy?
SE is different than psychotherapy (although therapists may use it in their work)… it’s often used in conjunction with other modalities and across a wide range of types of practice.
Therapists, coaches, educators, bodyworkers, medical professionals, and first responders are examples of professionals who may draw from SE, due to its unique and powerful effectiveness at releasing trauma from the body.
How does it work?
SE works by healing the nervous system and releasing old patterns that were formed due to stress and trauma.
When the body goes through more than it can handle, it will often become stuck in unhealthy patterns of chronic fight/ flight or freeze. In spite of our best efforts at mindfulness, understanding the root issues, and even doing all kinds of healing work, we can find ourselves reverting to the same old habits and responses over and over again.
This is because at a very primitive level, the nervous system has become “fixated” in particular patterns that, at one point, helped you survive.
When we release the old patterning and stuck places in the nervous system, we open up the body/ mind to greater flexibility, ease, and flow. We allow it to respond appropriately to stressors and triggers – rather than spiraling into the same old stuck places, rigid responses, or body symptoms.
What does Somatic Experiencing help?
Healing the nervous system affects our health and wellness in a powerful way because when we change the underlying patterns of the nervous system, we affect the physiology of the entire body and mind. Because of this, the healing that happens with S.E. tends to happen across the full spectrum of a client’s experience.
Specific effects that clients see range from relief of chronic muscle tension and improvement in various health issues to finally releasing “stuck” emotional patterns that have always plagued them. While healing typically does take time, often there are significant shifts of relief or greater ease that can happen quickly.
I specialize in working with creatives, healers, and spiritual teachers/ entrepreneurs who are looking to move into greater levels of joy-filled connection to themselves, more ease and safety in their body, and fuller expression in their creative work.
As a result of my own healing journey, I also love working with folks who are recovering from long term physical or mental health challenges (such as autoimmune conditions, adrenal fatigue, anxiety or depression) and moving into experiencing radiant physical and mental health… perhaps for the first time ever.
(Yes… it’s possible).
In short, I help you come home to safety in your body, release the traumatic imprints from the past, and move into more ease, flow, and joy.
What’s a session like?
Exactly what a session looks like will depend on our goals. We may talk a bit at the beginning, or we may just move straight into “talking” to the nervous system.
As I guide you to connect and center, we begin to observe the patterns currently happening in the body. I’ll track things like your breath patterns, muscular twitches, the flush or pallor of the skin, and various shifts and cues in the physiology.
I’ll also have you report your internal experience of imagery, sensations, emotions, or possible memories that may arise. We’ll observe what’s currently playing out on a nervous system level, and then make appropriate shifts to facilitate release where energy is stuck and needs to be shifted, completed, or let go.
Often, following this release, there will be an experience of profound calm or new insight that will spontaneously arise. (However, it’s important that we don’t try to jump too soon to figuring out “what it means”. I will often be guiding you out of the mind and into the the body’s sensations and experience). This is important to allow the body’s organic rhythms to fully complete and come back into balance.
(In other words… we’re letting the body be in charge, for a change! Often, it knows way more than we think).
Over the next 24-48 hours following your session, I’ll encourage extra rest and self care. I’ll also encourage you to notice shifts in the body’s experience, and any new insights that result.
When we give the physiology the space and support to come back to balance, often our mind’s understanding and experience will shift into a brand new space as well. Higher perspectives and deeper insight around the issues we’ve been stuck on are able to spontaneously emerge, along with greater ease and energy flow in the body.
You can read about my own journey and how I got into this work here.
Interested in working together? See here.